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The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer
Contemporary fiction

The Wishing Game


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Meg Shaffer, on your first book!

by Meg Shaffer

Quick take

This moving, transportive story follows four bookish souls competing for a rare book from their favorite author.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Puzzle


  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Buzzy


  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Underdog



Make a wish . . .

Lucy Hart knows better than anyone what it’s like to grow up without parents who loved her. In a childhood marked by neglect and loneliness, Lucy found her solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson. Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, she is able to share her love of reading with bright, young students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, who was left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but even the idea of becoming a family seems like an impossible dream without proper funds and stability.

But be careful what you wish for . . .

Just when Lucy is about to give up, Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book. Even better, he’s holding a contest at his home on the real Clock Island, and Lucy is one of the four lucky contestants chosen to compete to win the one and only copy.

For Lucy, the chance of winning the most sought-after book in the world means everything to her and Christopher. But first she must contend with ruthless book collectors, wily opponents, and the distractingly handsome (and grumpy) Hugo Reese, the illustrator of the Clock Island books. Meanwhile, Jack “the Mastermind” Masterson is plotting the ultimate twist ending that could change all their lives forever.

. . . You might just get it.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Wishing Game.

Why I love it

It is rare to come across a heroine that feels like a tiny part of me put into words. But Lucy Hart felt immediately very close to home. A love for word games and logic puzzles? Check. An extreme emotional attachment to her favorite childhood books? Check. A deep-seated desire to pass along her love of reading to those closest to her? Check.

Unlike me, though, Lucy gets to go on the adventure of a lifetime when the mysterious and elusive author of her favorite book series invites her to a competition on his isolated private island. The chance of winning a rare book means that Lucy might finally get to adopt Christopher, an orphan who already feels like family to her. But this contest involves scarier things than just puns and riddles, and meeting her idol forces Lucy to confront some uncomfortable truths about herself and her fears.

The Wishing Game is full of fun twists and turns, childhood whimsy, and quirky characters who’ll surprise you. But behind all the fun and games, Meg Shaffer craftily reminds all of us grownups about the power of wishing, and how much bravery it takes to chase a dream. For anyone looking for a warm hug in the form of a book, read on!

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Member ratings (19,804)

  • Jennifer J.

    Oshkosh, WI

    This book was an absolutely magical read! I was very unsure about this book but ended up adoring every last detail of this book! Lucy, Christopher, Hugo & Jack were such lovable characters! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Amanda G.

    Saint Louis, MO

    To put it simply, I adored this book. It was a warm hug, a fun adventure, a great escape. It made me feel like a kid in the best way and reminded me why I’ve loved reading my entire life. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Brianna C.

    Harrisville , UT

    This book. I finished and it still has me crying happy tears. What an incredible story, especially for those of us who had a rough childhood. Best book I have read in a really long time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Carey O.

    Medina, OH

    This book was magical! I loved how the mastermind was still trying to help people face their fears while helping to make their wishes come true. He was a dream catcher. Everyone needs a Jack ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Nicole S.

    Lochubuie, CO

    Reminded me of one of my favorite movies. A great storyline and a warm ending. Likable characters with a lot of development. I enjoyed this book. Was an easy read and fun to pick up. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️